Drake was on to something circa 2011 -- in the face of the automaticity of being human, how do we take care of condition so that our minds are sounds, our spirits, vibrant, and our bodies well? This foundation ladders up to preparing ourselves to be effective vehicles for making the kind of difference that will matter in the world. But first, let's start at square one, and let's start with our minds.
My mum has a phrase called "skilful thinking." This means being rigorous with our thoughts so that the disempowering and automatic ones that don't serve us remain distinguished as just that, rather than "the truth." The subway train of automatic thought comes roaring into the platform; our natural inclination is to hop on board and rocket downtown on that 2/3 Express. But that destination might not be where we want to go at all. Instead, we can condition ourselves to notice the train as it roars into the station, choosing mindfully if we want to hop, on or noticing when we have jumped aboard rather than taking that ride as the only option.
Here we meditate, we "do practice." We practice observing our thoughts and reactions rather than taking them as truth. We read spiritual teachers (listen to Krishna Das, read Pema Chodron), we vigorously notice the world around us rather than stay contained within our own experience, we breathe. Bringing a rigour to our thinking allows us to tap into new spaces of creativity outside our automatic thought patterns.